Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Special Importance of the Pipe Foreman

During the first four days after the Ferguson incident, which occurred on August 9, 2014, four African-Americans identified themselves as eyewitnesses and appeared and answered questions in the mass media.

Three of them -- Dorian Johnson, Piaget Crenshaw and Tiffany Mitchell -- claimed that they saw Michael Brown standing still, holding his hands above his head, and trying to surrender as police officer Darren Wilson shot him dead.

The fourth -- Michael Brady -- described Brown and Wilson struggling at the police vehicle, but then could not see the following actions. At the incident's very end, Brady saw Brown being hit by the final bullets as he was falling down.

On August 12, another self-proclaimed -- but anonymous -- eyewitness told his story to Fox2News (aka KTVI) Reporter Shirley Washington, who then described the story to the television public. The story has been summarized fairly as follows:
This man preferred to be anonymous and told Fox2 News that he’d seen Brown and spoke with him before Brown went to the convenient store. The man claims Brown felt “bad vibes” and that the “Lord Jesus Christ” would help him get through it. The man said that Brown told him they would finish their conversation after he returned from the store.

After about 20 minutes, the man claims to have heard shots and saw Brown (at the time, he didn’t realize it was him) staggering and running. The man said that Brown put his hands up and started screaming, “OK! OK! OK! OK! OK!” The witness claims that Wilson didn’t tell Brown to get on the ground or anything, he just shot him.

The man guessed that Wilson shot Brown six or seven times after he turned around to seemingly surrender, which is very consistent with everyone else’s account of what went down.

Seven months later, the US Justice Department's report about the killing revealed that this person was a 46-year-old White male working on a construction project to install drainage pipe for the apartment complex's buildings. The grand jury designated him as Witness 33, and the US Justice Department designated him as Witness 122. I will call him Pipe Foreman.

Pipe Foreman was working with a 26-year-old White male. The grand jury designated him as Witness 36, and the US Justice Department designated him as Witness 130. I will call him Pipe Laborer.


Exactly a month after the Fox2News story, on September 12, CNN reported that Pipe Foreman and Pipe Laborer (called "contractors" in this CNN article) had been filmed demonstrating, a few minutes after the incident, how Brown had been raising his hands in surrender when he had been shot dead.

This video revealed to the public for the first time that Pipe Foreman and his co-worker were White.
.... They were contractors doing construction work in Ferguson, Missouri, on the day Michael Brown was killed. And the men, who asked not to be identified after CNN contacted them, said they were about 50 feet away from Officer Darren Wilson when he opened fire.

An exclusive video captures their reactions during the moments just after the shooting.

"He had his f**n hands up," one of the men says in the video.

The man told CNN he heard one gunshot, then another shot about 30 seconds later.

"The cop didn't say get on the ground. He just kept shooting," the man said.

That same witness described the gruesome scene, saying he saw Brown's "brains come out of his head," again stating, "his hands were up."

The video shows the man raising his arms in the air -- just as, he says, Brown was doing when he was shot. ....

An attorney for the man who filmed the video says it was recorded 40 seconds after the shooting. ....

Here is the video.

Pipe Foreman is the man in the pink shirt, raising his hands and yelling.

In this blog, I will argue that Pipe Foreman was smoking marijuana in his truck when Brown was being killed, and so Pipe Foreman did not see the killing. When Pipe Foreman was raising his hands and yelling in this video, he was as intoxicated from the marijuana.

Pipe Foreman's statements to investigators and to the grand jury about the killing were lies.

Pipe Laborer did see the killing. I will argue that right before this video was filmed, Pipe Laborer had told Pipe Foreman that Brown had raised his hands briefly when Brown stopped and turned around to face police officer Darren Wilson. In the video, intoxicated Pipe Foreman was repeating what Pipe Laborer had told him.


Transcripts released to the public indicate that investigators believed that Pipe Foreman was involved in a narcotics transaction with Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson immediately before the latter two went to the store to steal cigarillos.  

The US Department of Justice's report about the killing summarized Pipe Foreman's lack of credibility as follows:
... Material portions of Witness 122's accounts are irreconcilable with the physical and forensic evidence. These accounts are also inconsistent with each other and inconsistent with credible witness accounts.
Accordingly, after a thorough review of all the evidence, federal prosecutors determined that this witness's accounts not to be credible and therefore do not support a prosecution of Darren Wilson.
[Page 59]
If Wilson had been put on trial for killing Brown, then it is very unlikely that the prosecutors would have provided Pipe Foreman as a witness. Wilson's defense attorneys would have subjected Pipe Foreman to a cross-examination that would have turned the trial into a humiliating fiasco for the prosecution.


I will argue that Brown and Johnson went to the Ferguson Market to steal cigarillos and then intended to go to McDonald's to buy lunch in order to prepare for a planned meeting with Pipe Foreman for the purpose of negotiating mutual marijuana deals.

Although Pipe Laborer did see the killing and said credibly that Brown raised his hands briefly, the prosecution likewise would not have provided Pipe Laborer as a witness during a trial of Wilson. Pipe Laborer, apparently fearing retaliation from Pipe Foreman, eventually stopped meeting with the FBI. Therefore the US Justice Department feared that in a trial Pipe Laborer would go rogue and reveal what Pipe Foreman actually did during the incident.

The US Justice Department's report summarized its concerns about Pipe Laborer as follows (emphasis added):
According to Witness 130, after Brown turned around, he continued to stumble or otherwise approach Wilson, although he did not know whether Brown was speeding up to come after Wilson, or whether his momentum was carrying him forward. ... Wilson only fired when Brown moved forward. .... Wilson backed up as Brown approached him. ... Brown continued to move toward Wilson as far as 20, 25, or even 30 feet .... 
Witness 130 has no criminal history. Federal prosecutors attempted to meet with Witness 130 to evaluate inconsistencies in his various statements. Witness 130 refused to meet with federal prosecutors, making reliance on his account problematic ....  federal prosecutors could not rely on Witness 130’s account to support a prosecution of Darren Wilson
[Page 60]
The Justice Department's report about the killing obfuscated Pipe Laborer's role. Pipe Laborer accurately described Brown approaching and speeding up toward Wilson at least 20 feet while Wilson was backing up. Even though Pipe Laborer said that Brown raised his hands initially, Pipe Laborer's testimony in a trial would have helped Wilson overall.

In a trial, Pipe Laborer would have endangered the prosecution because he might have revealed that Pipe Foreman was smoking marijuana in a truck and did not see the killing.

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